October 6, 2021


Blue Star updates on RAS operation in British Columbia, Canada


Blue Star Foods Corp. (BSFC), an integrated Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) seafood company, provided an update on October 4 regarding its efforts to develop the first full-scale commercial salmon recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) operation in British Columbia, Canada.


BSFC acquired Taste of BC Aquafarms, Inc. (TBC) in June this year, and this division has completed its evaluation of several potential sites for its initial facility and is in final negotiations to secure its first choice, which is already zoned for aquaculture.


TBC expects to finalise site negotiations in the fourth quarter barring any unforeseen circumstances. Development plans are being finalised, and the company expects to submit concept plans to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to begin the permitting process by next month.


The company is currently operating a facility in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island where more than 50 cohorts of an approximate 10,000 fish each have been stocked. All cohorts have grown at or beyond targets since September 2019, according to BSFC.


Production at this facility for 2020 was 103% of the company's target of 100 tonnes of fish with more than 98% of that production meeting or exceeding market specifications for size, taste, texture and other quality markers, such as sushi grade. In 2021, weekly harvests are being maintained with similar results although market demand continues to outpace supply.


John Keeler, chief executive officer of BSFC, said: "The acquisition of TBC earlier this quarter provided us with the talent, resources and experience to accelerate our seafood production through recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), which we believe is the future of our industry. Importantly, we have achieved success at the existing facility and are positioned to leverage TBC's proven and scalable model to develop large-scale production facilities that will target production of approximately 21,000 tonnes of Pacific salmon by 2028."


Steve Atkinson, managing director of Taste of BC Aquafarms, said: "We are moving rapidly to advance our plans for the first full-scale commercial operation of a RAS in British Columbia, which for a long time, has been our preferred location given its long history in salmon aquaculture and supporting infrastructure.


"The Canadian federal government declared their intention to transition ocean-based net cage salmon farming on to land by 2025. They have already cancelled licenses of approximately 30% of ocean-based production effective 2022. This, coupled with the increasing consumer demand for high-quality, sustainably sourced seafood, have created an attractive political and business climate for advancing our plans."


Atkinson added: "To date, we are the only producer in the salmon RAS sector that has been able to predictably raise high-quality salmon at a profit. Importantly, we now have a proven blueprint for this success that is repeatable and will enable us to further scale our business.


"We are leveraging the lessons learned to develop additional farms over the next several years. Each farm will consist of identical modules that are currently being designed using the extensive knowledge gained in the proof of our existing facility.


"Our experience has demonstrated that farms with annual production of 1,500 tonnes are ideal. This gives advantages of scale, biosecurity, mitigation of risk and ease of finding suitable sites along with operational efficiencies. Early entry into this emerging market with a proven, scalable model is instrumental to our success thus far and we believe will enable us to outperform others in the industry."


BSFC has applied to list its common shares on the Nasdaq Capital Market. The application is currently pending approval.


- Globe Newswire